Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) grey seal pup contaminants

Data set information

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Data holding centreBritish Oceanographic Data Centre
CountryUnited Kingdom  United Kingdom
Time periodNovember to December 2002
Geographical area

Isle of May, Firth of Forth, east Scotland


Concentration of polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs) in biota; Pesticide concentrations in biota; Concentration of other organic contaminants in biota


Gas chromatograph mass spectrometers


The data set comprises measurements of contaminant concentrations in the blubber of grey seal pups. Samples were collected on the Isle of May, Firth of Forth, East Scotland between 13 November and 02 December 2002. Sixty suckling pups were selected at random from the island's population, weighed, measured and tagged. Pups were recaptured repeatedly before and after weaning, with weight, length and axillary girth being re-measured each time. These measurements were used to estimate blubber reserves based on mass/length, as detailed in Hall et al. (2009). Linear regression was used to derive estimates of pup mass at weaning. Blubber biopsy samples were collected from 57 of the pups when they were first recaptured after weaning. Samples were stored at -20 °C, then extracted using the Soxhlet method. Lipid content was determined gravimetrically while Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) was used to determine wet weight concentrations of contaminants per lipid proportion of the sample. A linear back calculation based on the known rate of contaminant concentration in blubber post-weaning was used to correct values to the concentration at weaning. The data were collected by researchers from the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) at the University of St Andrews and the University of Lancaster Department of Environmental Science. The data are held at the British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC).

OriginatorsLancaster University, Department of Environmental Science
Sea Mammal Research Unit

Hall, A.J., Kalantzi, O.I. & Thomas, G.O. (2003) Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in grey seals during their first year of life—are they thyroid hormone endocrine disrupters? Environmental Pollution, 126, Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU); Hall, A.J., Thomas, G.O. & McConnell, B.J. (2009) Exposure to persistent organic pollutants and first-year survival probability in gray seal pups. Environmental Science and Technology, 43., Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU)

OrganisationBritish Oceanographic Data Centre
ContactPolly Hadžiabdić (Head of the BODC Requests Team)

British Oceanographic Data Centre
Joseph Proudman Building 6 Brownlow Street
L3 5DA
United Kingdom

Telephone+44 (0)782 512 0946
Collating centreBritish Oceanographic Data Centre
Local identifier1048SMRU_GREYSEAL
Global identifier4849
Last revised2015-09-14